Google Cloud: Optimizing network spend with Network Tiers

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In this lab, you create one VM in the Premium network service tier (default) and one VM in the Standard network service tier. Then you compare the latency and network paths for each VM instance.

With Network Service Tiers, Google Cloud enables you to optimize your cloud network for performance by choosing the Premium Tier, or for cost with the new Standard Tier.

Premium Tier

Premium Tier delivers traffic over Google’s well-provisioned, low-latency, highly reliable global network. This network consists of an extensive global private fiber network with over 100 points of presence (POPs) across the globe.

Standard Tier

Standard Tier is a new, lower-cost offering. The network quality of this tier is comparable to the quality of other public cloud providers and regional network services, such as regional load balancing with one VIP per region, but lower than the quality of Premium Tier.

Standard Tier is priced lower than Premium because the traffic between Google Cloud and your end user (internet) is delivered over transit (ISP) networks instead of Google’s network.

In this lab, you learn how to perform the following tasks:

  • Create a VM using the Premium network service tier
  • Create a VM using the Standard network service tier
  • Explore the latency and network paths for VMs on different network service tiers

Task 1. Create the VM instances

You can configure the network tier for your VM instances at the project level or at the resource level. In this lab, you create two VM instances and define their network service tier during the instance creation.

Create the Premium Tier VM

Create a VM instance using the Premium service tier, which is the default.

  1. In the Cloud Console, on the Navigation menu > Compute Engine > VM instances.
  2. Click Create.
  3. Specify the following, and leave the remaining settings as their defaults:

4. Click Management, security, disks, networking, sole tenancy.

5. Click Networking.

6. For Network interfaces, click the pencil icon to edit.

7. Verify that Network Service Tier is set to Premium.

8. Click Done.

9. Click Create.

Create the Standard Tier VM

Create a VM instance of the same machine type and in the same zone but use the Standard service tier.

  1. Click Create Instance.
  2. Specify the following, and leave the remaining settings as their defaults:

3. Click Management, security, disks, networking, sole tenancy.

4. Click Networking.

5. For Network interfaces, click the pencil icon to edit.

6. Set the Network Service Tier to Standard.

7. Click Done.

8. Click Create. Wait for both instances to be created. This is indicated by green check marks next to the instance names.

9. Note the External IP addresses of vm-premium and vm-standard. They will be referred to as [premium-IP] and [standard-IP], respectively.

Task 2. Explore the latency and network paths

Explore some of the network performance differences between the Premium Tier and Standard Tier.

Explore the latency for each VM instance

Explore the latency from a third-party service in Europe to your VM instances in us-central1-c. Latency is defined as the round-trip time (RTT), or the time network packets take to get from one host to the other and back. Lower latency improves user experience and also improves transfer speeds.

In this lab, you use https://ping.eu/ping to demonstrate the latency a user in Europe might experience when accessing your server in us-central1-c.

  1. Open a new tab and go to https://ping.eu/ping.

2. Enter the [premium-IP] in the IP address or host name field.

3. Click Go.

4. Wait for the 4 consecutive pings to complete.

5. The output should look like this:

In the example output, the average latency of the Premium Tier VM is 110.794 milliseconds.

  1. Enter the [standard-IP] in the IP address or host name field.
  2. Click Go.
  3. Wait for the 4 consecutive pings to complete.
  4. The output should look like this:

In the example output, the average latency of the Standard Tier VM is 125.430 milliseconds. Therefore, the Premium Tier VM has a 10% lower latency than the Standard Tier VM.

This is a very basic test. Passing real application traffic is always the best indicator of latency and performance. You can examine this Google Cloud blog on Network Service Tiers to learn more about performance differences between network tiers.

Explore the network path for each VM instance

Explore the network path between a third-party service in Europe and your VM instances in us-central1-c using traceroute. Traceroute shows all Layer 3 (routing layer) hops between hosts; therefore, it can illustrate a network path between hosts.

In this lab, you use https://ping.eu/traceroute to visualize a network path that traffic from a user in Europe might take when accessing your server in us-central1-c.

  1. Open a new tab and go to https://ping.eu/traceroute.
  2. Enter the [premium-IP] in the IP address or host name field.
  3. Click Go.
  4. Wait for traceroute to complete.

The output should look like this:

In the example output, the traffic destined for the Premium Tier VM reached Google Cloud’s network after the 5th hop. The IP address on hop 4 is listed in Bavaria, Germany, which is the same state as the origin server and an Edge Point of Presence (PoP). Therefore, the Premium network tier traffic entered the Google Cloud network very close to the user, as expected.

5. Enter the [standard-IP] in the IP address or host name field.

6. Click Go.

7. Wait for traceroute to complete.

The output should look like this:

In the example output, the traffic destined for the Standard Tier VM reached Google Cloud’s network after the 10th hop. The IP address on hop 9th hop is listed in Chicago, USA, which has an Edge Point of Presence (PoP) and is close to Iowa, USA (us-central1). This demonstrates that Premium network tier traffic enters the Google Cloud network much closer to the user than Standard network tier traffic does.

In this lab, you created one VM in the Premium network service tier (default) and one VM in the Standard network service tier. Then, you used a third-party service to visualize the differences in latency and network paths for each VM instance. The Premium Tier VM had a lower latency and its traffic entered Google Cloud’s network sooner than the Standard Tier VM’s traffic.

With Network Service Tiers, Google Cloud offers the flexibility to configure your resources for performance or cost by introducing the Standard Tier of networking. To learn more about the pricing differences between the two network tiers, refer to the pricing documentation.

This concludes our lab — “Optimizing network spend with Network Tiers”.

Happy Learning !!!


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